Pedal in the City: Bike Commuting Winter Safety Tips

pedalcityWinter in Salt Lake began with the beauty of falling snow and crystals of ice glistening in the winter sun. While beautiful to gaze upon, with that beauty comes commuting hazards. This month’s focus is on biking safely in winter weather conditions.

Gear Junkie, based in Minneapolis, has posted 12 tips for winter bike commuting, covering everything from proper clothing to how to navigate your bicycle in the ice and snow.

Here are a few of the tips. The rest can be found at

Bike safely!

Follow the plow — Bike trails are regularly plowed in many major metro areas. For example, in Minneapolis more than 50 miles of trail is plowed after a snow.

Ride steady — For slippery stretches riders should slow down and stay loose. Brake only on the rear wheel to avoid spinouts on slick surfaces. And be prepared to take your feet off the pedals if the bike starts to fishtail or tilt.

Cold and clean — Unless you plan to clean it off, keep your bike cold and store it in the garage. A room-temperature bike in new snow can cause ice to form on brakes and gears more easily. Also, keep your chain and gear cassette lubricated for best operation.

Headwear — Jacket hoods are a no-no, as air funnels in as you move, inflating a hood like a sail. Instead, many riders wear balaclavas and sunglasses or ski goggles. Tight-fitting (but warm) fleece skull caps are popular. Top it off with a helmet, perhaps sized larger in winter to fit over all the insulation.